Utah State welcomes 14 early signees as the second Gary Andersen Era starts to take shape

Aggies sign five players from California and snag four in-state prep products

Gary Andersen speaks at a press conference where he was introduced as the new head football coach at Utah State, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/Herald Journal via AP)

The recruiting footprint Gary Andersen first established a decade ago has not changed.

The first part of his first official recruiting class proved as much. The Utah State Aggies welcomed 14 new players Wednesday as part of the NCAA’s early signing period. Just like Andersen set out to do when he took the job way back in 2008, the Aggies recruited California, Utah and Texas. In all, five California products are now USU signees, more than any other represented state so far.

Four players hail from Utah in this initial portion of the 2019 signing class, while two each come from Oregon and Washington and one Lone Star State product rounds out the future Aggies. Andersen, who was hired for a second round as USU’s head coach last week, said he’s content with how the class is shaping up.

Utah State will announce its complete 2019 signing class on Wednesday, Feb. 6.

"We have been able to develop the right relationship with each of them to ensure we are comfortable with them and they are comfortable with us in the short time since we’ve been here, whether they are signing National Letters of Intent or are preferred walk-ons,” Andersen said in a news release. “There was a lot of work done by the staff that remained to solidify these commitments and we will now continue to look to fill the needs and find the difference makers that will help us in 2019 and beyond.”

It should come as no surprise, either, that an emphasis in this first wave of Aggies came on the defensive side of the ball. USU welcomed four new linebackers, two defensive linemen and a safety. On the offensive side of the ball, the Aggies signed three offensive linemen, one quarterback and one wideout. The Aggies special teams was beefed up by the signing of a kicker and long snapper.

Signees who will enroll at USU for classes beginning in the spring semester include freshman linebacker Christian LaValle and freshman offensive lineman Aric Davison. LaValle is a 6-foot, 230-pound linebacker from Mission Viejo High School in Mission Viejo, Calif. Originally committed to Arizona State, LaValle was captivated by the Cache Valley experience, Andersen said on 1280 The Zone Wednesday.

Davison, a 6-foot-3, 305-pound offensive lineman from Richland, Wash., was a four-year starter in high school.

The headlining Utah prep products heading for Logan include Jackson Owens, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound offensive lineman out of East High School and Sione Moa, son of former Utah running back great Ben Moa. Sione Moa is a 6-foot-1 linebacker out of Weber High School. Andersen told 1280 The Zone Moa will serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. USU also signed Moa’s high school teammate, Pierce Callister, a kicker and punter out of Weber High.

Defensive lineman Aaron Bredsguard, a 6-foot-3, 225-pounder out of Viewmont High rounds out the in-state prep products bound for Logan.

The quarterback the Aggies snagged is Josh Calvin, a 6-foot-3, 190-pounder out of Mayfair High in Bellflower, Calif. Calvin is listed as a dual-threat QB, who also held an offer from Nevada.

Since his hiring last week, Andersen continues to fill out his coaching staff. After making former Utah linebackers coach Justin Ena defensive coordinator, Andersen later hired Mike Sanford Jr. to be the offensive coordinator. This week, the Aggies hired Jason Phillips to be passing coordinator and WR’s coach, Mike Caputo to be safeties coach, TJ Woods to lead the offensive line, former Aggie Bojay Filimoeatu to coach outside linebackers and hired Jordan Hicks as head strength and conditioning coach.

Andersen kept Stacy Collins as special teams coordinator and running backs coach, while Frank Maile, who served as the interim head coach for USU’s New Mexico Bowl victory, will serve as assistant head coach and tight ends coach.


• Ashton Adams, 6-4, 300; OL from Salem, Ore. (South Salem High School).

• Aaron Bredsguard, 6-3, 225; DL from Bountiful, Utah (Viewmont High School).

• Pierce Callister, 6-0, 170; K/P from Ogden, Utah (Weber High School).

• Josh Calvin, 6-3, 190; QB from Bellflower, Calif. (Mayfair High School).

• Aric Davison, 6-3, 305; OL from Richland, Wash. (Richland High School).

• Keith Harris, 5-11, 170; S from Lawndale, Calif. (Leuzinger High School).

• Cam Lampkin, 5-11, 165; WR from Mesquite, Texas (Poteet High School).

• Christian LaValle, 6-0 230; LB from Mission Viejo, Calif. (Mission Viejo High School).

• Sione Moa, 6-1, 180; LB from North Ogden, Utah (Weber High School).

• Jackson Owens, 6-4, 290; OL from Sandy, Utah (East High School).

• Dean Rice, 6-4, 280; DL from Yuba City, Calif. (River Valley High School).

• Simon Thompson, 6-2, 210; LB from Salem, Ore. (West Salem High School).

• Jesse James Vasquez, 6-1, 225; LS from Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Oaks Christian School).

• Jaymason Willingham, 6-3, 215; LB from Lacey, Wash. (Steilacoom High School).